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Bowhead whale, longest living mammal, may hold secret to longevity

For centuries, people across the world have tried to escape aging and death by seeking ever-elusive elixirs or springs of youth and now the genome of the bowhead whale has been sequenced by the scientists to find out the secrets of the longevity of this mammal.

It is notable that bowhead whale is the longest living mammal on planet Earth and since they have 1,000 times more cells than humans, they are more at risk of succumbing to disease or death. But this is not the case and it is really surprising.

The findings of the study are published in the journal Cell Reports. Joao Pedro de Magalhaes and his research team found that the bowhead whale has around 80 genes that may protect it from cancer. The researchers added that genes of the whales related to DNA repair differ from those in humans.

"We know DNA damage and DNA mutation are important for cancer," said Magalhaes in a report by CBS News. "So when we find genes related to DNA repair and DNA damage responses, we think maybe this could be involved in longevity and disease resistance of the bowhead."

The research was funded by the Life Extension Foundation, which touts things as nutritional supplements, and the Methuselah Foundation, which has made huge investments in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering.